Unusual Circumstances

What is Professional Judgment?

When there are unusual situations or circumstances that impact your federal student aid eligibility, federal regulations give a financial aid administrator discretion or professional judgment on a case-by-case basis and with adequate documentation to make adjustments to the data elements on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) form that impact your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to gain a more accurate assessment of your family's ability to contribute to your cost of education

What Are Unusual Circumstances?

Unusual circumstances are conditions that support a change to a student's dependency status based on a unique situation. Examples of unusual circumstances include but are not limited to: Human trafficking. Refugee/asylee status. Parental abandonment, estrangement, or parental incarceration.

Please note that unusual circumstances do not include:

  • Parents refuse to contribute to student’s education.
  • Parents refused to provide information for the FAFSA or verification.
  • Parents do not claim the student for income tax purposes, or that the student demonstrates total self-sufficiency.
Last Updated 11/29/23